Although health and safety training is a priority for most employers, many still depend on paper instructions, as they’re unable to integrate sufficient real-life scenarios into employees’ training.
That’s where Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) come in.
AR blends reality with added digital information and VR creates an entirely virtual environment. These technologies can bolster organisations’ health and safety training by encouraging learning-by-doing and interactive immersion for higher engagement.
Continue reading to explore how AR and VR can be used in health and safety training in construction and other industries to reduce risks and streamline learning processes.
AR and VR Applications in Health & Safety Training
Health and safety is a critical element for the construction industry, and yet the rate of fatal injury in construction is around 4 times as high as the average rateacross all industries. It’s clear traditional health and safety methods aren’t working.
Integrating AR and VR into health and safety training could help lower the rate of occupational injuries by boosting worker engagement during training and providing safety advice in real time to eliminate risks. For example, AR-enabled remote assistance can improve worker safety on site and can help workers rectify small issues before they turn into larger hazards.
With Fixzy Assist, experts can gain remote access to the project site to ensure workers are following health and safety regulations. Through their smartphone, the off-site expert will be able to see what the worker is seeing on the site. They can then offer real-time feedback if something isn’t up to standard and help resolve the issue through AR and AI technologies.
Utilities and energy
The utility and energy workforce will, at times, need to work in difficult terrains and hazardous environments, which call for rigorous health and safety requirements.
VR technology can create lifelike simulations of hazardous situations to help train workers without exposing them to risky conditions. AR can also help make workers safer by embedding safety warnings, cautions and other safety information into an application they can train on or take to the site for maintenance.
Royal Dutch Shell is a real-life example of how companies are using these technologies in their health and safety training. The oil and gas supermajor uses interactive VR safety training to prepare employees for dangerous, high-stress emergencies, like gasoline tanker spills that are engulfed in flames.
In industrial sectors, like manufacturing, operators, assemblers and technicians need to be aware of all the safety risks of the equipment they’re working on. However, it is impractical to expect workers to learn and retain this information simply by reading a manual.
AR and VR help cement appropriate health and safety procedures without the risk of injury. With AR, industrial workers can point their smartphones at a manual to transform a 2D image of a piece of equipment into an interactive 3D object with safety information superimposed on top of it. This immersive learning experience is a practical solution to the post-COVID era of social distancing and remote interactions.
Instead of organising a week-long training session for new workers, AR and VR can support remote, virtual training. Not only is this safer, but it’s also a more cost-effective way of providing training due to its streamlined, time-efficient delivery.
Benefits of Using AR and VR for Health & Safety
1. Endless attempts for proven success
In construction and utilities, employees need to be trained before they can carry out the work. Using augmented and virtual reality, employers can help build simulations that enable safe, risk-free and repeatable training.
For example, employers can create simulations of work processes so that new employees can practice repeatedly. This training allows workers to recognise and correct their mistakes before they start using powerful and potentially dangerous equipment.
2. Risk-free training from anywhere
By providing immersive training through AR and VR, employees can be engaged while learning. These technologies also mean that there’s no risk, and the training can be carried out no matter where the instructor or employee is located.
This type of risk-free learning also means that employees can absorb information at their own pace without having to worry about possible repercussions.
3. Increased skill acquisition and retention
It is well-known that we retain much more information when we combine learning with practical exercises — and, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. AR and VR technologies give employees hands-on practice that can be repeated as many times as necessary.
These technologies are also the perfect complement to theoretical knowledge, as you can put what you’ve learned from a book straight into practice.
4. Paper-free health and safety
AR gives companies the opportunity to put manuals and instructions into the hands of employees at any time, anywhere. For example, employees could simply pass their smartphone over a piece of equipment to view its manual. They’d then be able to use the manual to learn how to use the piece of equipment safely.
5. Remote supervision and inspections
After you provide health and safety training, you need to follow up to ensure the guidelines are being followed. AR enables supervisors to inspect the site remotely, providing guidance where it’s needed.
If there is a health and safety issue, the expert can offer real-time advice so the employee can rectify the situation. This reduces down-time, increases productivity and gives the expert visibility no matter where they’re located.
Experience Virtual Health & Safety Training with Fixzy Assist
The future of health and safety training is virtual. Fixzy Assist gives experts the opportunity to offer over-the-shoulder advice from anywhere to help keep workers safe and identify any potential hazards.
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